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  1. #1
    genesis is offline Member
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    How many rounds does it take to remain proficient.

    For defensive shooting, this is kind of a subjective question as everyone is different. Ball park figure, to retain good muscle memory, I say at least a box (50 rounds) of practice a week to retain good defensive shooting skills. (And that's probably on the light side.) That's 2600 rounds a year. For a 9MM (at $10 a box), that's $520 a year, plus range time. And that practice needs to include much more than just target practice. If you're not practicing defensive drills (including quickly diagnosing and clearing all manner of malfunctions, and reloading quickly) you won't be ready, God forbid, should the need ever arise. I shoot 100 to 200 rounds on most nice days on my home shooting range. But I just enjoy bullet casting, reloading, and shooting. And now that I'm retired I've got the time to really enjoy what I've always enjoyed, the sport of shooting.

    How many of you have friends with guns who couldn't hit a pie plate 3 times in 5 seconds at 21 feet, or even 10 feet. Yet they feel safe just because they own a gun. At my coaxing and prodding, a good friend of mine, who never practices, finally came over the other day to shoot with me (which prompted me to make this post). He has a nice 45 auto, and feels safe and secure with it. He talks big, and thinks his 45 will stop anybody, just because "it's a 45". (People with shot guns mistakenly feel the same way.) He missed the plate with all 3 shots on his first attempt! Got 1 out of 3 on his second attempt. (Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.) Missed all 3 again on his third attempt. He, like 98% of people who own guns, is living under a false sense of security, and would fail miserable (be dead) in a defensive pistol match, which is no where near the pressure and fear one would experience in a real life confrontation.

    If you own a gun for defensive purposes, you need to acquire/practice good gun skills (practical, tactical, and marksmanship), and sound presence of mind. Lacking this, merely "having" that gun could get you killed. (i.e. You start shooting and miss which causes the bad guy to start shooting, and he/they get you.) Learn how to end the confrontation, and not start a gun fight. If you think merely "having" that gun or pulling that trigger will do it, your head is up a very smelly part of your anatomy. And I say that with love. If you can quickly and consistently hit what you're shooting at, none of this applies to you (but be honest with yourself - test yourself).

    I have the time, place, ammo, and inclination to practice a lot. Many gun owners don't. Suggestions? What say you all?

    Don <><
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  2. #2
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    If I remember correctly, good old Col. Cooper had a popular quote on that subject; I think it was
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician."


    And that reminds me of an old joke (which also seems to apply here):

    NYC Tourist: "Excuse me, do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?"

    New Yorker: "Yeah; practice, practice, practice..."
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  3. #3
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    It may also be the firearm he is using..........hard to be proficient with a larger caliber, if you have no experience with a smaller caliber.

  4. #4
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    chessail77 is offline Senior Member
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    How many elephants can a whale swallow ? you need some consistent practice to keep proficient weekly or monthly would I suspect depend on the individual.....JJ

  5. #5
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    It all depends on how good your fundamentals are. If you learned good basic shooting habits, and had a lot good practice sessions, using those good habits, you can stretch it out a little bit.

    I neglected my practice for several months, recently, and was very disappointed in my performance with the new XDs I bought and tested a couple weeks ago. I made enough good shots to know the pistol was shooting to POA, but my consistency sucked. I had always prided myself in being able to shoot small pistols better than most folks I would see shooting them, but I have slipped and know I have to find more time to practice.

    The 'subtle' things, like trigger control and follow-through have to be practiced frequently, or you just gradually stop doing them, without even realizing it. And it is those subtle things that distinguish a good shooter from a poor shooter.

  6. #6
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    It isn't "how many rounds," but rather what you do with them.
    In fact, you can maintain a lot of your already-gained proficiency, and even add materially to it, with daily dry-fire practice (followed by once-a-week, live-fire exercise).

    Merely shooting isn't enough.
    You need to practice at various (and, if possible, unknown) distances, all the way out to at least 25 yards. (If you go prone, you can do it to 50.)
    You need to move-and-shoot.
    You need to practice finding, and then shooting from behind, cover of various kinds.
    You need to practice combat reloads, including while moving.
    You need to practice turning to the left and to the right, and then immediately shooting from the resultant awkward positions.
    ...And much of this can be practiced in dry-fire mode.

  7. #7
    genesis is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    It isn't "how many rounds," but rather what you do with them. In fact, you can maintain a lot of your already-gained proficiency, and even add materially to it, with daily dry-fire practice (followed by once-a-week, live-fire exercise). Merely shooting isn't enough. You need to practice at various (and, if possible, unknown) distances, all the way out to at least 25 yards. (If you go prone, you can do it to 50.) You need to move-and-shoot. You need to practice finding, and then shooting from behind, cover of various kinds. You need to practice combat reloads, including while moving. You need to practice turning to the left and to the right, and then immediately shooting from the resultant awkward positions. ...And much of this can be practiced in dry-fire mode.
    Right on Steve. Practice DOESN'T make perfect. PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect. And that practice needs to be varied. I'll bet I dry fire my gun 300 times a day. Can't begin ta tell ya how many virtual bad guys I've nailed while watching TV. For you rookies, be darn sure that weapon is empty before ya start any dry fire drills in the house. There should be no ammo in the room if possible. Same for kids and wifey. To get some ideas on how to practice, go to youtube and do a search on "defensive pistol" and "practical pistol".

    Don <><

  8. #8
    Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    It isn't "how many rounds," but rather what you do with them.
    In fact, you can maintain a lot of your already-gained proficiency, and even add materially to it, with daily dry-fire practice (followed by once-a-week, live-fire exercise).

    Merely shooting isn't enough.
    You need to practice at various (and, if possible, unknown) distances, all the way out to at least 25 yards. (If you go prone, you can do it to 50.)
    You need to move-and-shoot.
    You need to practice finding, and then shooting from behind, cover of various kinds.
    You need to practice combat reloads, including while moving.
    You need to practice turning to the left and to the right, and then immediately shooting from the resultant awkward positions.
    ...And much of this can be practiced in dry-fire mode.
    This right here, training is your friend. Being sure all your fundamentals are correct, you should be ok with 50 as your round count. You should add dry fire into the mix as well.

  9. #9
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    I agree with the perfect practice. With a lot of dry practice, your live round count could go even lower than 50. You can practice all of your malfunction drills with dummy ammo, and 10-15 minutes a day will do wonders for your live shooting IF you do the dry practice honestly and correctly.

  10. #10
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    berettatoter is offline Senior Member
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    I think that depends strictly on the person doing the shooting. No matter who you are you need to practice - practice until you can instinctively draw and shoot your weapon and make consistent hits on target. JMHO.

  11. #11
    Jammersix is offline Banned
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    If my shooting falls below about 50 a week, I notice it.

    If I'm really trying to maintain an edge (for competition) it's more like 200 a week.

  12. #12
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    Excellent OP and responses. There is not really a set number of rounds you can go by as it all depends on the individual.

    Here 9mm ammo can be a scarce thing and very expensive if purchased on the local economy up to $1.00 per round.

    I may only get 10-20 rounds to train with so as stated by others you make the most of what you have. Blowing through mag after mag and not hitting anything does no good.

  13. #13
    Nanuk's Avatar
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    The mantra is not practice makes perfect, but, perfect practice makes perfect.

    You are better off shooting 20-25 rounds and ensuring everything is right than 500 rounds just to burn it up.

  14. #14
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanuk View Post
    The mantra is not practice makes perfect, but, perfect practice makes perfect.

    You are better off shooting 20-25 rounds and ensuring everything is right than 500 rounds just to burn it up.
    ...Also see Response #7 to this thread.

  15. #15
    Arney is offline Junior Member
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    I do not have time to practice at the range more then once a month. When I do I usually shoot 100 rounds per gun. Usually one gun but have brought multi guns now and then. All of them are XD in .40 cal. Just got an EAA witness P in 10mm but have yet to shoot it.

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